Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mommy, my stomach hurts...

Thus began my morning.

Well, technically it began a few hours earlier. The chicklets had a track meet this morning, so I had awakened them at 5 (a.m.) so they could swallow some breakfast. They each had a banana and promptly went back to sleep.

When awakened at 7:15, Yell came into my room whining about her stomach. I was washing my face and questioning her about her symptoms at the same time.

"what do you mean it hurts? Like heartburn? Like you need to go to the bathroom? Like you..."

Yell, "buuuurp"

Stunned silence.

Yell, "Oh, that feels much better. Never mind."



I think she gets her manners from Homer Simpson.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stuff

I received a letter indicating the tuition rate at my kids' school will go up by approximately $50/month next year. Coincidentally it was the same day as our mandatory parents’ meeting. I’ve been trying to compose this letter since then.

Dear School Principal,

To say I’m disgusted by what is expected of next year is an understatement.
I respect that you intend for the students to perform service hours to ‘earn’ their class t-shirt. I respect that they will need to earn the right to wear them on Fridays. My kids are probably not the norm. They will each have completed ten hours of service within the first two days of their summer vacation. What I do not understand, comprehend, condone, or encourage is the acquiring of ‘things’ for our students.

I’m likely in the minority. I’ve always been frugal so we can afford our children’s wants as well as their needs. This will likely shock you, but I’ll tell you anyway. For all of my children’s back-to-school supplies (including shoes & clothing), the cost for July 2010 was $99. It was done very carefully, watching sales, using coupons, buying “pre-worn” items, and with several gifts from current 8th graders.

But that doesn’t resolve my feelings about what is expected for our soon-to-be eight graders.

A class shirt. Estimated cost $25 each. As is typical for our family, we purchase 5 shirts (one per day) each year for each child. Because these are unique to this class, the cost to my household is $125 for one child.
A sweatshirt. Estimated cost $30. $155. For two children (yes, there are two families with two kids in the class) the total is now $310.

A yard sign. Estimated cost $10. $165. For two, $330. For use one day of the year. To announce what the rest of the school already knows – these kids are graduating. Yes, the children are given the option to take the sign home and display it in their yard. As a safety issue, this concerns me. Do I really want everyone on the street to know my now-graduated-from-8th-grade-child has gifts, money, spare time, and will likely be home alone?

A DVD. Estimated cost $10. $175. For two, $350. With pictures of my child on it that I supply. I’m supposed to pay to buy a DVD of photos I already know I have?

And the big class trip. Estimated at $150 per child. $325. For two, $650. And we haven’t purchased shoes, pants/shorts, socks, jackets, gym uniform, dodge ball, or the various track/cross country/volleyball/football/basketball/kickball/soccer/sports t-shirts and equipment. I know I can scratch off the class sweatshirt, the DVD, and the sign, but that saves a $50 from the total. Not a significant savings.

I know (and understand why) my 8th grader will ‘want’ everything the other kids have. I realize there is an opportunity for them to participate in, not one, not two, but THIRTEEN or FOURTEEN fundraisers. What is that teaching my child? Yes, hard work = earning your trip. But also, “your trip can be better than the one the class had last year" if you earn the money to pay for it. I’m also teaching them to sell “stuff” to people in our neighborhood who are already facing reduced incomes due to high gas prices, higher costs at the grocery store, higher taxes, more responsibilities, bigger burdens. And can you imagine what it does to the families with two children? Oh yippy skippy! TWENTY-SIX to TWENTY-EIGHT fundraisers! I assure you, those parents are not thrilled.

Yes, graduating from eighth grade is a ‘bigger deal’ from a parochial school than it is from middle school. Perhaps only because most of these children have been in the same class for the past 9 years. Perhaps because they’re all looking forward to attending high school with the same set of kids. Perhaps they should consider scaling back on their final year of school. Perhaps consider inviting the kids from a "less fortunate" school to participate in their class trip to a park for a picnic – perhaps our privileged youth should share their blessings?

People don’t need more STUFF in their lives.

I’m ready to wash my hands of the whole year and move the kid to public school.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ready to Read


Hello!!!!!!!!!!! I am saying this because my mom won't let me have my own blog. I want my blog to feature the fact that starting on my birthday i will try to read 100 books in a year. And I was going to name it Sensational Anne : the girl who reads it all. Isn't that an awesome name?!?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I'm posting this as part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Though I may have to write the dream prompt as well.  I have a doozy that inspires me to no end of activity.


Mama’s Losin’ It


My oh-so-thoughtful sis coerced us into collaborating on a Mother's Day present for my mom.  It's perfect.  It doesn't require dusting.  It doesn't require watering or maintenance.  It won't cause her to gain weight.  It won't be thrown away or cause unnecessary pollution.  But it might make her cry.




On Mom and Sewing
2010

I remember coming downstairs to find mom hunched over the kitchen counter, the light above her work turned on. She was working on some flannel. It was white, with little purple flowers. She painstakingly inserted pieces of metal through the fabric and then grabbed a hammer. She pounded on the fabric, trying to get the snaps to adhere. When she cried because her wrist hurt, I felt bad and went back to bed. I hoped Dad would help her. Those jammies were that much more special to me, because despite her fatigue, Mom made me jammies.  –Suz

Pajamas. Love. –T

Mom bringing out the big white board with blue dots on it and laying it across the dining room table. The sound of scissors running across that board as they were cutting fabric for Mom's next project. Learning how to read a pattern and cut the right size. Making shorts for myself. Learning to use Aunt Alma's sewing machine alongside Mom: "Does your sewing machine have a zigzag stitch?" –Kake

The white glass egg for fixing socks and her focused on that sock-wrapped egg with needle in hand and tongue sticking out. –Nacho
The Chicklets - wearing 2 of
Grammy's creations

Mom is sewing my socks. Why is mom sewing my socks? –B

My memories with Grammy:
Sewing skirts for my dolls
Teaching me to crochet
Using the sewing machine with her
Dressing the dolls with the clothes we made –Crab

I remember that one time Grammy was helping us make clothes for our dolls and I remember that after we were done I was playing with my doll, I sat down then yelled "OUCH!!!!!", I had sat down on a needle. I also remember the time that she helped me make a hanky for my mom for a special occasion. And the last thing that I remember is the time she helped me make a cape for my Roggy and I put half of the buttons on the wrong side!! I still have that cape and my Roggy is still wearing it. –Yell



Monday, May 2, 2011

Blessed are the children

When leaving church yesterday, the chix and I headed for the baptismal font to get holy water prior to leaving.

We spotted a little one. Toddler. Tiny little girl who was obviously experimenting with freedom, but also trying to keep her mommy in her line of sight.  She couldn't have been older than 14 months.

She had on a tiny little dress. And sandals with tights. And cutesy little pigtails high up on her little head. She toddled closer and closer to the baptismal font.

I was watching to make sure she didn't make a break for freedom.

But someone else was watching too.


A little guy. Couldn't have been older than four or five.

He came up to the font and got some holy water. He blessed himself.



Then he turned, bent, and blessed the forehead of the little girl.



And when he turned back, beaming, I realized he had Downs syndrome.



Without intending it, he blessed me, too.
--

Sunday, May 1, 2011

life simplified

Today was another track meet.

I was incredibly proud of Crab. She's been practicing for track for a little over 2 months & has gained confidence. She started playing around on the hurdles DURING the last track meet & had her coach put her into competition today. She came in THIRD!!!

Yell was disgusted with herself. Apparently she wasn't pacing herself properly and came in ONE SECOND behind her previous one mile time.

Ahem.

One second.

I realize that's a lot of time when you're looking at racing times. I realize it's significant when you're looking at her total time.

But people - one second. It's not a MONSTER FREAKING DEAL.

But apparently it was. And is. To her. She was meaner than all get out for the rest of the day.

Rawr. With teeth. And claws. And sharp fingernails.


So our comedic moment came while I was dealing with entering the kids' times. I was nominated by my husband to do data entry. I have a weird habit of typing things in the most efficient way possible. So while 'bored' at work, I taught myself to enter 10-key.

Yup. I'm an idiot.

Our spreadsheet had some errors in it. I don't know how it happened. Since I know 10-key, I kind of watch myself as I enter the info. So I just glanced at the screen and saw that a 4th grade girl had just run in a 7/8 grade event.

Um, what?

Checked the list of participants, called the kid to the score table, verified their info, gave them a new number, continued down the list of entries.

And it happened again. Called kid to the score table, verified their info, gave them a new number, continued down the list.

And then it happened AGAIN. But as I was looking down the list of runners, I noticed that I wasn't getting everyone who had run during the past three meets.

Call in "Mr. Baker". Scott is the guy who created our spreadsheet. But "Mr. Baker" is the guy who is a techno-geek who I know is nearby. Scott is at yonder pit with kids hurling large metal balls into the air while competing for distance. I'm staying away from that guy.

I yelled, "Hey, Yell, Crab, whoever you are (I know, it's weird, sometimes I can't tell my non-identical twins apart), go get Mr. Baker!"

The kid turns around (it was Yell), and says, "WHO?!?"

"Mr. Baker - he's out by the scoring stuff. I need him right away."

"WHO?"

"Mr. Baker....that kid's dad!" and pointed to a little guy who was wearing a fireman's jacket/raincoat.

"Oh. You mean Cooper's dad?"

---------------------

Later, a mom came up to the table and asked if anyone has seen Yellybird.

I said, "yes, but she's asleep in her car."

The mom says, 'Oh, well has anyone seen her dad?'

I said, "Well, yes, but he left for a business trip."

The mom then said, "Oh, you're Yelly's mom?"

"That's me."

"Oh. Hi Yelly's mom. I have her earrings!"

---------------------

So there you have it.

Life has been simplified. We are our children's parents. That is all.



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